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Lawrence Badash Memorial Lecture – Alex Wellerstein on “Truman’s Bomb”

May 9, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Please join us on May 9, 4PM, in the McCune Conference Room for the 2018 Lawrence Badash Memorial Lecture. Our guest speaker will be Alex Wellerstein who will be giving a lecture titled Truman’s Bomb and the Making of the Atomic Presidency. 

When we think of the importance of the atomic bomb to the Truman presidency, we think of Truman’s weighty decision regarding the use of the weapon on Japan. But historians have known for decades that the narrative of “the decision to use the bomb” is largely mythical, and his actual role was mostly peripheral. But despite this, Truman did make several decisions during the war that would have vast consequences for the future of nuclear weapons, decisions that still resonate today. This talk will look at the making of the “Atomic Presidency” during the Truman administration: the regulations, norms, and procedures that invest in a single person the power to destroy the world, a power that has extraordinary relevance for us today.

Alex Wellerstein is an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He received his PhD from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2010, and has BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of “Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog,” the creator of the heavily-used nuclear weapons effects simulator website NUKEMAP, and is a regular contributor to the New Yorker’s Elements web site, among other outlets for his more popular writing.

The Badash Lecture honors the late Prof. Lawrence Badash, a long-time professor in the history of science at UCSB. The lecture is made possible with generous donations from Larry’s partner Nancy Hofbauer, his former student Peter Neushel, and numerous other donors who have contributed their support to the series.

A flyer for this event is here.


May 9, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


HSSB 6020 (McCune Room)
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 United States
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Department of History
(805) 893-4505
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